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Who Enforces Daylight Saving Time?

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U.S. Prepares To Reset Clocks for Daylights Saving Time

U.S. Prepares To Reset Clocks for Daylights Saving Time

Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Updated March 12, 2011

Does anyone actually enforce daylight saving time?

Well, sure. If you forget to set you clock ahead in the spring and accidentally show up to work an hour late, your boss might have a few choice words about remembering daylight saving time the next time it comes around.

But does any agency or entity actually have the responsibility to regulate daylight saving time across the United States? Believe it or not, yes. It's the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The Uniform Time Act of 1966 and later amendments to the daylight saving time law state that the Department of Transportation is "authorized and directed to foster and promote widespread and uniform adoption and observance of the same standard of time within and throughout each such standard time zone."

The department's general counsel describes that authority as "ensuring that jurisdictions observing daylight saving time begin and end on the same date."

So what happens if a rogue state wants to, say, create its own version of daylight saving time? Not gonna happen.

For any violations of the daylight saving time rules, the U.S. Code allows the secretary of transportation to "apply to the district court of the United States for the district in which such violation occurs for the enforcement of this section; and such court shall have jurisdiction to enforce obedience thereto by writ of injunction or by other process, mandatory or otherwise, restraining against further violations of this section and enjoining obedience thereto."

The transportation secretary also has the authority to grant exceptions to states.

Let's hope your boss is just as lenient.

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